As an editorial in our press so aptly put it last week, "The PPP government has demonstrated once more that it lacks a backbone. Instead it flounders on as a spineless, jellyfish-like entity, unable to move decisively in any direction or take a stand on key issues." Just what, one must ask, have the people of Pakistan done (apart from a dismal minority who cast their votes and land themselves and us in the mire) to deserve the government they now have, or the accidental president voted in by those voted in to represent the public? Who were these people now ruling the collapsing roost? They were mostly individuals who have never lifted a finger to do anything to benefit the nation, who have depleted the national kitty and who have made merry with the country and its assets under a setting sun. Quite a few have criminal or other charges against them on record and some, including the helpless clueless prime minister have served jail sentences for the misuse of power and of public funds when previously in office. Now, we are told that each of the 60-odd ministers appointed for past favours rendered or judged to be useful when needed for some sort of nefarious underhand purpose, costs the nation Rs 60 million per year. What the common garden ordinary assembly member costs has not, to our knowledge, yet been calculated. We have also been told that this government incurs a loss of Rs 2 billion per day - if it be correct, a staggering figure. What we need to know is how many of the parliamentarians who are merrily partying at our expense all over the country are taxpayers? How many actually cough up to the national exchequer. How many have declared their assets? Is any clarification and enlightenment forthcoming? Anyhow, the spineless and jellyfish analogy related to the matter of recommendations made by the Council of Islamic Ideology, under its chairman who has the reputation of being a true and sound scholar of Islam. The council had been asked by the omnipotent ever-smiling president of the Republic to send in its pending recommendations. It did so, and they were, as far as one could tell, in the interests of life in the 21st century. The recommendation concerning women and divorce, if adopted by the spineless jellyfish, would have gone a long way towards making life far easier for women seeking their right. At present, a woman who asks for a divorce must endure a lengthy procedure, with repeated visits to the courts, where they encounter judges with a 10th century mindset and obviously unsympathetic to their cause. The CII merely simplified the procedure, cutting out and eliminating a string of unnecessary corners. Now, naturally, the religious militant right, which has minimal representation in Parliament, but to which this progressive party of the people remain in thrall for its own expediency, objected as was to be expected. And as was to be expected, the party of the people, progressive as it may be, but cowardly to the core, caved in. Benazir Bhutto is surely lying uneasy in her grave. The most surprising aspect of this exercise is that not one of our women parliamentarians has had the courage to step forth and comment on the matter, or stand up for those women to whom the CII recommendation would bring much relief. The women parliamentarians of the party of the people have been more than a mere disappointment. They meekly accept whatever is dished out to them - including Israrullah Zehri who is all for murdering unwanted womenfolk and Hazar Khan Bijarani who believes in handing over five-year old girls as compensation to the men-folk of a murdered man's tribe. Another un-refutably sensible, logical, practical recommendation which would save the country and its people from much unnecessary botheration and uncertainty was the CII proposal that the Ruet-e-Hilal committee cease flying up in helicopters in search of the elusive new moon each Eid ul Fitr, and that a single Hijri calendar be compiled using age-old scientific methods so far ignored by our gentlemen of the cloth. Mecca should be made the touchstone, the centre of gravity, for all our celebrations and the various Islamic festivals should be celebrated on the same day as in the Holy Land. This makes eminent sense particularly in the case of the coming Eid when this country normally celebrates an event that has taken place two days previously at the centre and hub of Islam. There has apparently been no reaction to this at all, it has been completely ignored, presently because of objection from the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. No one in Parliament has yet dared to comment on the proposal. Apart from neglecting to update our little section of the world, the sixth largest state in the world and nuclear armed, what does this government intend to do about cutting down on the ruthless non-development spending in which it is indulging? We must suppose nothing. It is apparent from the drama being played out with the money-changers that a healthy number of our transient bigwigs are involved in spiriting out foreign exchange to support the lifestyles they can afford in the developed world. If things ever fall apart, most of them can run off to comfortable boltholes. The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: